Mueller fined $683,000 for safety hazards

By NEMS Daily Journal

FULTON – Federal officials announced Monday that three Mueller Industries subsidiaries should pay $683,000 in penalties for exposing workers to safety and health hazards.
An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration resulted in 128 citations for Mueller Copper Tube, Mueller Fittings and Mueller Packaging, all in Fulton. The three companies are subsidiaries of the Memphis-based Mueller Industries.
The investigation began after the July 29 death of maintenance work Phillip Cason Hosch of Sulligent, Ala., in a fire and explosion at Mueller Copper Tube. Two other workers were injured.
“Mueller Industries subsidiaries’ dangerous practices exposed workers to a variety of hazards that ultimately took one worker’s life,” Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said in a news release.
John Hansen, president of manufacturing operations for Mueller Industries, said the company is reviewing the citations and will meet with OSHA to discuss them in the coming weeks.
Before receiving the citations, he said, “Mueller undertook measures to address many of the suggestions and concerns shared by OSHA. We will continue to further enhance our safety program by improving upon our work practices, training, and encouraging the valuable input of our employees.”
According to the OSHA release, more than 90 of the citations were levied against Mueller Copper Tube. OSHA findings included failure to guard machinery, exposure to electrical shock, unsafe electrical equipment and practices, and failure to label hazardous chemicals.
Mueller Copper Tube also received the bulk of the fines – $413,500.
Mueller Fittings’ 22 citations included unsafe propane storage and handling, unsafe material storage and likelihood of exposure to blood-borne pathogens. It faces $166,500 in fines.
Mueller Packaging was issued 12 citations, including unsafe crane operation, failing to lock out sources of hazardous energy and electrical hazards. OSHA has recommended $103,000 in fines.
The companies have 15 days to either comply with or contest the findings.